Don’t look now, but NBA training camps officially open up in less than two weeks. That’s one step closer to the regular season, where the New York Knicks will look for their first back-to-back playoff appearances since 2011-13.
The Knicks haven’t had much roster turnover, which should help them get off to a hot start compared to teams that have rebuilt and retooled their personnel.
There are still a few burning questions regarding New York’s lineup, pecking order, and rotations that must be answered before their season opener against the Boston Celtics.
3 Questions the New York Knicks need to solve during training camp
3: Who is first off the bench?
It’ll be interesting to see if head coach Tom Thibodeau decides to make a rotation change involving his backups. Immanuel Quickley will still run the second unit’s offense, but will he be the team’s “sixth man” in 2023-24?
Quickley is coming off a phenomenal year in which he finished second in the NBA’s official 6MOY voting. He was first off the bench in almost every regular season game, although the Josh Hart trade changed things.
Hart was the first substitute throughout the Knicks’ playoff run, even before Quickley was injured in their second-round series against the Miami Heat.
The veteran trade addition averaged an even 30 minutes per game in New York after the deal despite coming off the bench in 24 of his 25 appearances.
The first sub typically spends a fair amount of their time on the court with the other four starters, so it could make sense for Thibodeau to lean towards Hart to ensure that at least one of Jalen Brunson or Quickley is on the floor for all 48 minutes.
In terms of NBA rotation issues, deciding between two starting-caliber bench players is an excellent problem to have. This isn’t even mentioning backup big Isaiah Hartenstein or free agent shooter Donte DiVincenzo, the former of which has experience coming in early whenever Mitchell Robinson deals with first-quarter foul troubles.
It’ll be intriguing to see who Thibodeau goes with during New York’s first preseason matchup on October 9.